Skip to comments.Watching What You Drink? Check Your Glass
Posted on 12/22/2005 7:57:53 PM PST by NormsRevenge
ALBANY, N.Y. - Here's a new tip to help curb drinking over the holidays: Ask for your scotch-and-soda in a highball glass. That's because people tend to unwittingly pour more alcohol into short, wide glasses compared to tall, skinny ones meaning two cocktails from a squat tumbler might actually pack the punch of 2 1/2 drinks.
The phenomenon is so pervasive even experienced bartenders do it, according to a study being published Friday in the BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal.
"People say, 'Oh, the bartender knows what he's doing.' Well, the bartender does know what he's doing in a lot of cases, but he falls victim to these illusions," said lead author Brian Wansink, a Cornell University marketing professor.
The so-called portion distortion illusion that causes people to misjudge volume based on container shapes is well established. But Wansink wanted to find out if training could correct the bias.
Researchers recruited 198 students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pour 1 1/2-ounce shots from a bottle into one of two types of glasses: tall and slender or short and wide. Students poured 30 percent more into the stubby glasses than the tall glasses. Even a subgroup of students with 10 practice pours made the misjudgment.
Experienced bartenders did better, but not by much. Eighty-six Philadelphia bartenders asked to pour out shots on the job put 20 percent more into the short glasses. Bartenders asked to pay careful attention to their task were a bit more on target.
In cases where more booze was poured into taller glasses, the amount was negligible.
Wansink concludes that the pour-more-in-short-glass effect is only slightly reduced by practice, concentration or experience.
That extra splash of alcohol per glass can add up. Drinking a quarter more alcohol per drink could even skew calculations of bar patrons and partygoers trying to stick to one cocktail an hour.
Wansink suggests measuring out shots or using tall glasses.
Baylor College of Medicine obesity researcher John Foreyt, who was not involved in the study, said he was surprised that even experienced bartenders fell prey to portion distortion. He said the study underscored the need for people to be careful not to underestimate their intake, be it alcohol or food.
Wansink said the effect also could skew epidemiological studies since alcohol consumption per glass could be underrepresented by a quarter. Not to mention the financial implications for bars and restaurants if bartenders are overgenerous, even unintentionally.
On the Net:
British Medical Journal: http://www.bmj.com
Cornell University: http://www.cornell.edu/
Bartender Grace Maurillo pours a drink at Morris's Grill in Skaneateles, N.Y., Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005. People tend to unwittingly pour more alcohol into short, wide glasses compared to tall, skinny ones--meaning two cocktails from a squat tumbler might actually pack the punch of 2 1/2 drinks. The phenomenon is so pervasive even experienced bartenders do it, according to a study being published Friday in the BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)
Great tip. From here on out, I'm avoiding the highball glass like the plague!
They say that like it's a bad thing.
Conversely, if you don't want to get ripped off, make sure your drinks come in short wide glasses.
Be safe out there, take a cab and don't forget to tip the bartender.
Great article. Next time I hope they tell us how to find the best traffic gridlock to avoid those quick trips from the office to home.
"I'll have that in a highball, and a double in a wide glass for the lady."
Absolutely stupid research. Simply outrageous, to budget one cent for that.
Wanna bet I could drink it straight from that beer can holder?
I pour three fingers, regardless of the glass.
That would be more fun than a barrel of monkeys
If I use that I might have to go face down in the bowl and lap it up with my tongue, so, no difference really.
If you look closely at this picture you will see a device on the neck of that bottle of booze. That device allows depending on the size of it limits the size of the drink, it only allows 1 1/2 ounces of liquor into the glass , unless you tip it again. Most bartenders use this device or an automatic device similar to it. Any good bar is strict with bartenders about this.
So although you may pour a stiff drink its BS to think you are getting one at the bar.
Guess it doesnt matter to me, since I drink my Saphire and Tonic in a pint beer glass.
Hey.....whatever works for ya.....;]
Well, this shoots down the idea advanced by biologist Jean Piaget that only young children have problems with the concept of conservation of volume.
(Just some trivia to impress your local barkeep with...)